Polystyrene trend firm in the Mediterranean markets

06-Dec-10
In Europe, December styrene contracts settled with €34/ton (US$45/ton) increases compared to November on FD NWE basis, following an initial styrene barge contract which had settled with €38/ton (US$50/ton) increases vs last month, as per Chemorbis. Styrene contracts firmed in line with higher settled ethylene and benzene contracts in the region, which both moved up by €27/ton (US$36/ton) from November. Meanwhile, spot styrene prices which had been gradually losing ground since the beginning of November recorded US$70-80/ton increases FOB NWE basis on week over week basis, catching up with the levels reported at the beginning of last month. The higher spot styrene prices were attributed to better buying interest for December as well as the tight import supplies. The slowdown in ethylene production is also intensifying the tight styrene availability in the region since ethylene is a major feedstock for producers producing styrene through the dehydrogenation of ethyl benzene. Despite the fact that a stable trend was previously anticipated for the PS market in December in Italy, European PS producers started to pronounce price hikes following these firm developments in the feedstock markets. Major regional producers’ hike targets reach up to €50/ton for the time being while they see further support from the tight PS availability. Seeing these hike targets from the producers, traders also started to pronounce their December sell ideas with €20-45/ton increases in the spot PS market. However, buyers in Italy are unhappy with these escalating prices ahead of the approaching year-end. Therefore, many prefer to search for imports for more competitive offers. In Turkey, initial European GPPS offers for December were revealed with €20-25/ton increases which appear to be in line with firm styrene and PS markets in the region. Meanwhile, a December sell idea for West European HIPS indicates €20-50/ton increases from last month. Given the fact that it is the last month of the year, overall demand is not active. Yet, players in Turkey do not expect to see decreases on European PS offers considering the higher contract and spot styrene prices in the region as well as the recovering crude oil prices which saw the $88/bbl level as of December 2nd.
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